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President Trump Announces Continuation of Dr. Collins as NIH Director

Legislative Update
June 6, 2017

Today in a White House announcement about various appointments, President Trump stated that National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. would continue in that role. Dr. Collins—until now a temporary holdover from the Obama administration—has had broad support among Republicans with jurisdiction over NIH appropriations and authorization. In a December 2, 2016, letter to then President-elect Trump, they wrote that “his distinguished scientific experience, effective leadership skills, and long standing relationships with members of Congress, researchers, and advocates will service the nation and your Administration well." Commenting on the President’s decision today, one of those signatories—Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee with authorization jurisdiction over the NIH—praised it stating that, “This is good news for the country and one of President Trump's best appointments. There's nobody better qualified than Francis Collins to help accelerate the medical miracles that have the potential to help virtually every American family."

In a late June 6 email sent to NIH staff, Dr. Collins responded to the announcement as follows:

“I received word today that President Trump has made it fully official: he wants me to continue in the role of NIH Director. I am truly grateful for the President’s vote of confidence, and I will be honored to continue to serve this noble institution. This is a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity in biomedical research, as we seek together to advance health and relieve suffering. It will be my distinct pleasure to continue working with you, my valued colleagues at NIH—as well as with our counterparts at the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House, the Congress, and the broader community, including universities, philanthropy, industry, and patient groups. There is much work to do!"